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Wool market finishes 3.9% lower
Jun '09
The Australian wool market finished 3.9% lower, on average, at sales in Sydney and Melbourne this week on the back of softer demand and a 2.9% further appreciation of the US exchange rate.

The AWEX EMI fell by 30¢ (-3.8%), ending the week at 753¢/kg. This reflected falls of 31¢ (-3.8%) in the North and 30¢ (-3.9%) in the South, with their corresponding Regional Indicators finishing the week at 775¢ and 734¢ clean, respectively. The Western Indicator remained unchanged at 769¢, as there was no sale in Fremantle this week.

In a two day sale in Sydney and Melbourne, the AWEX EMI fell by 33¢ on Wednesday, when the US exchange rate was 6.2% above last Thursday, and rose by 3¢ on Thursday when US exchange rate fell by 3.1%.

27,964 bales were on offer, compared with 40,111 bales last week when all three regions sold. 22.4% were passed in, comprised of 14.3% in Sydney and 27.2% in Melbourne. Pass-in rates for Merino fleece and skirtings were 25.9% and 22.7%, respectively. 2,946 bales (9.5%) were withdrawn prior to sale and re-offered bales made up 11.0% of this week's offering. Only 21,694 bales were sold from the 32,420 expected to be offered as of last Friday.

The US exchange rate (source RBA) was 2.71¢ higher on Monday when compared with Thursday of last week. It was then up by a further 0.40¢ on Tuesday, by 1.69¢ on Wednesday and down by 2.56¢ on Thursday to close at 80.03¢, up 2.24¢ (+2.9%) since the last sale. The exchange rate against the Euro rose by 0.22 Euro cents (+0.4%) to close at 56.47 Euro cents on Thursday night. When looked at in other currencies, the AWEX EMI moved down by 6¢ (-1.0%) in US terms and by 15¢ (-3.4%) in Euro terms when compared with the previous sale.

The ongoing strength of the exchange rates was boosted by the Reserve Bank's decision on Tuesday to leave the official interest rate unchanged, a 0.4% growth in Gross Domestic Product in the March Quarter and strong export figures.

This week's market was dominated by the rising exchange rate. While media comments emphasised the 33¢ fall in the EMI on Wednesday, this translated to a rise of 10¢ in US currency. As is often the case, the fall in the US exchange rate on Thursday was not accompanied by a equivalent rise in the EMI in A$.

While the 30¢ fall in the EMI is not good news for wool growers the fall of 6 US¢ is a better representation of the global market. There was a more even distribution of price falls in percentage terms this week than in the last three weeks when the fine wools fell by a greater amount than the medium and broad wools. As with last week, there was strong seller resistance to sell at current prices with an overall pass-in rate of 25.9% for fleece wool.

Changes in the Average AWEX Micron Price Guides (MPGs) for Merino wools varied from -4.8% (17.5 microns) to 2.2% (17.0 microns). There was no quote for 16.5 microns. Average MPGs were down by 27¢ for 17.0 microns, by 53¢for 17.5 microns, by 40¢ for 18.0 microns, by 40¢ for 18.5 microns, by 33¢ for 19.0 microns and by 32¢ for 19.5 microns. The 20.0 micron wool average MPG was down by 31¢ clean, 21.0 microns and 22.0 microns by 28¢, 23.0 microns by 29¢, and 24.0 microns by 32¢.

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